Thursday, March 22, 2012

making baby food


(This is an old picture from when first I began making Riley's baby food!)


As I sit here waiting for the sweet potato to finish cooking in the oven, I decided to blog about baby food...

I knew from before I was pregnant that I wanted to make my baby's food. I'm not a 'crunchy' mom and I am by no means an organic kind of person. In fact, I will likely eat 95% of what you put in front of me. (That other 5% is left for chicken livers, pigs feet and all that crazy stuff some people eat...) I don't even care if she gets organic fruits/veggies. In fact, I prefer local stuff!

I tried breast feeding and you can read about that here. So yes, I am a formula feeding mom and guess what... My baby is FINE. In fact, she is excelling in height and weight as well as motor skills and strength according to her pediatrician. Did I mention she was crawling at 4 months old? You can see that here. Oh wait... formula is poison, I forgot. {insert sarcastic eye rolling here} Yeh- I think she is just fine. She will also eat the store bought foods when we are on the go and I don't have time to pack up and keep her fresh things cold with a mini cooler and ice packs. I'm all for easy, folks.

You may ask why I wanted to make her food? Well, honestly I fell in love with that adorable green baby food maker at Williams Sonoma before I was ever even thinking about having a baby.

{This handy dandy babycook is awesome. It works as a steamer as wells as puree's. You steam in the basket and then take the basket out to puree.You can also use it to re-heat baby food, but we use the bottle warmer instead. We try to stay away from the microwave because it takes away nutrients at lightning speed!}

Stupid reason, right? Who cares. I started to read up on it and realized that when baby food is produced in factories... or wherever the heck they make it... when it is heated to such high levels in order to be canned or stored, it loses SO many nutrients. According to a book I have called 'The Best Homemade Baby Food On The Planet', peas cooked in the microwave contain twice as much vitamin C as commercially prepared baby food! And that's the microwave, which already takes nutrients out. (I prefer steaming, boiling or baking.)



Did I mention how much money I save? Today I bought a rather large sweet potato for aprox. $1. It made 16 oz of pureed baby food. The gerber baby food containers are 2.5oz a piece and cost around $1 for 2. I made 6.4 times the amount of food for roughly the same price (Actually less but let's pretend it was a huge potato and cost a dollar). So if Riley eats about 5 or 6 oz per meal (and were about to start 2 meals a day) - that would be approx. 38 cents per meal instead of the $1 or more we would spend per meal using the store bought food. For comparisons sake, zucchini squash is $1.99 a lb and 2 large pieces cost me $1.87- It makes around 16 oz pureed. The peas are $1 total and make around 20 oz and the yellow squash is $1.93 for two pieces and it makes about 16oz.

What is the method to my madness, you may ask... Or you may not care at all... Everyone does it differently, so I thought I would share my way. I start by picking the veggies from the local Target or Harris Teeter or if time I swing by the farmers market! We started off slowly at 4 months (per her pediatricians orders!) She was introduced to one new veggie every 2-3 days. You want to give time in between in case there is a rare food allergy, you don't want too many variables. Riley's first was avocado (I know- it's a fruit!) You should always start with veggies so they get used to eating first before they get addicted to the sweet foods and wont touch their veggies. So far we have a fabulous eater who will truly eat anything and she LOVES to eat. After avocado we tried squash (her favorite) then carrots, then green beans, sweet potato, butternut squash, banana, and pears in that order. Her next veggie is peas!

Ok- back to how I do it...

After I have selected my veggies it's time for the dirty work. I start by cleaning and peeling all of my veggies. After they are clean I decide upon my cooking method. For smaller veggies like the squash and green beans I tend to steam them in the beaba. It takes about 15 minutes to steam and I can get about two pieces of squash or a couple of hand fulls of green beans in it at a time. I often like to work in bulk so when I do, I put the green beans, carrots and peas on the stove in a small amount of boiling water and the sweet potatoes in the over while the little steamer is working away.
When the squash finishes I save a little of the water and pour the basket of steamed squash back into the beaba to puree. I like this better than my other food processors because it seems to get the puree really smooth. I use more or less water depending on the consistency I am trying to reach.

To store the baby food, I either use ice cube trays or the silicone storage trays made by beaba. I have two of those and they have 7 two oz trays in each. The ice cube trays are about 1oz a cube.





After I freeze these over night I then package them into ziplock bags with the date the food was cooked along with the contents of the bag. It should only stay in the freezer for up to three months, but it is best if it is used within a month. I thaw about two-three days worth at a time in the fridge. (Never re-freeze!) I take them out of the ziplocks and put them into small containers with air tight lids. I have about 15 of these small containers. I use them to thaw and to re-heat in the bottle warmer if we heat it. NEVER heat food in the microwave in plastic. If we heat in the microwave (which is rare) we transfer to glass. If we are on the go and I decide to take it with me, I put them in a freezer type bag and take a spoon and she eats it how it is. She doesn't seem to mind. I may even buy some baby food in glass jars just to have the jars to be able to reuse them when thawing my own food. They will also travel better as my plastic ones tend to leak at times.

I have not made any fun food mixtures yet as Riley is just being introduced to each food individually. I plan to do so soon though. I want Riley to have a wonderful appetite and grow up a good eater. I have tons of recipes in my baby cook books. I also have learned SO much from wholesomebabyfood.com- There are tips and tricks along with tons of recipes!

I hope some of this information is helpful for anyone who wants to embark on this journey. I'm no expert, this is just my way of doing things. Tonight I made 7 large carrots, 1 sweet potato, 2 pieces of yellow squash, 2 pieces of zucchini squash ( a new veggie to try!) and a ton of peas and got it all done and kitchen cleaned up in an hour and a half.

~let go laughing!


2 comments:

  1. DO you do fresh peas? If so, how? From what green bean do you get the peas from?

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  2. I have not used fresh peas. I used frozen peas. I do use fresh green beans and cook them whole. :)

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